Lux

Thank you once again KEXP for providing me with some new ear-candy.  Lux is a Seattle-based duo made up of David Chandler and Leah Rosen.  Their debut album Were not the Same releases April 3rd and will feature these two elctro-tinged, shoegazing songs.  You can stream the forthcoming album here.

Alabama Shakes

A few weeks back, my uncle said I should “Check [the Alabama Shakes] out…NOW.”  I wish I had listened to him then.  They’re good.  Justin Gage, a far more successful music blogger than I, described the Shakes as “a slice of the real; an unhinged…blues-based soul outfit fronted by a woman armed with a whole lotta voice and a Gibson SG.”  Lead singer Brittany Howard sure knows how to channel Janis Joplin.  Look out for the Shakes’ debut release this April, as well as their appearance at Sasquatch.  Word on the street is that the know how to put on a live show.

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Deep Sea Diver – History Speaks

By: Max Burke

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Seattle-based Deep Sea Diver is bound to be compared to another female-led three person band: Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  Jessica Dobson of DSD, like Karen O of YYY, can belt out a strong rock chorus one moment and then sing a tender ballad the next.  Each debut album—which History Speaks is—is just over 37 minutes in length and offers compact, instantly listenable rock songs.  But the comparisons end there; at least in terms of their first albums.  History is more musically complex and less enveloped by distortion and feedback than Fever to Tell.  It almost feels like a Walkmen album sung with the vocal diversity of St. Vincent.

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Jeff Mangum

By: Max Burke

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For many of you closer to my age (early 20’s), the name Jeff Mangum might not mean much to you.  In fact, many of you may not have heard of him—his former band Neutral Milk Hotel last released an album in 1998.  So why, you might wonder, is the name Jeff Mangum featured so prominently on the Coachella lineup (second-boldest font possible)?  Continue reading

New Tunes

“You Go Running”

I recently stumbled upon (in the traditional sense of the phrase) this infectious jam by the Seattle-based group, Deep Sea Diver.  I know essentially nothing about them besides the fact that this song is the single for their upcoming album, History Speaks.  Glad I found them. Must Listen.

“Jack Rollin'”

Here’s another song that’s been rollin’ around in my head for the past month.  It comes from Fort Romeau, aka Mike Norris, keyboardist for La Roux (who also knows how to create a catchy song or two). Listen.

11 Albums of 2011

By: Max Burke

Well this is a bit late.  And technically, it should be titled “11 + 2 Albums of 2011”, but that’s neither here nor there.  Although 2011 did not yield intstant-classics like 2010 had (Dark Twisted Fantasy, This is Happening, The Suburbs), the 11th year of the new millennium did produce its fair share of memorable albums.  Here are a few of them, listed in alphabetical order of the artists’ names:

UPDATE: Here’s a playlist with a a song from each album

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

You would be hard-pressed to find an album from 2011 that contained such concise, yet deeply textured songs as those on Bon Iver.  Justin Vernon knows how to create expansive and ambitious sounds, but simultaneously reign them in with his acute pop sensibility.  Just listen to “Calgary” or “Holocene” the next time you’re laying in bed, attempting to sleep, and you’ll know what I mean.

Destroyer – Kaputt

Stylistically, nothing from this past year sounded as effortless as Kaputt‘s jazzy synth-grooves and singer Dan Bejar’s nearly-nonchalant singing/speaking.  Although Bejar’s dream-like tales of girls, drugs and time-travel are incoherent at times, they’re full of such wit and humor that one cannot help but be enticed.  And that they’re so easily blended into an equally dreamlike sound environment only makes the experience that much better.

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Max’s Best Tracks of 2011

This is my take on the Best Tracks of 2011. Of course, I haven’t listened to every song released this past year.  And my favorite now could be different in a month.  As you know, the craveability of a song is highly mood dependent.  Nevertheless, here they are, in no particular order:

Cut Copy – “Need You Now” (This is the shortened version)

tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”

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